Trump names new trade adviser
Trump will never again sacrifice the US economy on the altar of foreign policy.”
US President-elect Donald Trump named Peter Navarro, an economist who has urged a hard line on trade with China, to head a newly formed White House National Trade Council, the transition team said on Wednesday.
The nomination is seen by Chinese experts as a prelude for a potential slowdown in US foreign direct investment in China.
Navarro may persuade American companies to slow down their investment in China by offering them more attractive terms to make domestic investment, said Chai Yongzhi, a researcher at the Beijing-based China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
Navarro, an academic and one-time investment adviser, has authored a number of popular books and made a film describing China’s “threat” to the US economy.
Trump’s team described Navarro in a statement as a “visionary” economist who would “develop trade policies that shrink our trade deficit, expand our growth, and help stop the exodus of jobs from our shores”.
Trump made trade a centerpiece of his presidential campaign and railed against what he said were bad deals the US had made with other countries. He has threatened to hit Mexico and China with high tariffs once he takes office on Jan 20.
Navarro, 67, is a professor at University of California, Irvine, and advised Trump during the campaign.
Few other economists have endorsed Navarro’s ideas.
Marcus Noland, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, likened a tax and trade paper co-authored by Navarro to “the type of magical thinking best reserved for fictional realities” for what he said was its flawed economic analysis.
Navarro has also suggested a stepped-up engagement with Taiwan, including assistance with a submarine development program.
The Foreign Ministry urged US president- elect Donald Trump on Dec 13 to act prudently on the Taiwan question to avoid “serious damage to the Sino-US relationship”.
In an opinion piece in Foreign Policy magazine in November, Navarro and another Trump adviser, Alexander Gray, reiterated the president-elect’s opposition to major trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“Trump will never again sacrifice the US economy on the altar of foreign policy by entering into bad trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement, allowing China into the World Trade Organization and passing the proposed TPP,” Navarro and Gray wrote. “These deals only weaken our manufacturing base and ability to defend ourselves and our allies.”
Trump has vowed to pull the United States out of the TPP, a free-trade pact aimed at linking a dozen Pacific Rim nations that President Barack Obama signed in February. It has not been ratified by the US Senate.
The president-elect has also vowed to renegotiate the NAFTA pact with Canada and Mexico, saying it had cost American jobs.
Chai said with Navaroo’s nomination, it won’t be easy for China to gain market economy status stipulated by the World Trade Organization any time soon.
“At the same time, China needs to urgently boost its economy under the current economy setting,” Chai said.
Zhong Nan in Beijing contributed to this story.
Peter Navarro, newly named head of White House National Trade Council